I probably fall in love about 5 times a day, and it is brutal. My mind is in a constant state of romance, as I playfully toy with the “what-ifs” of the most basic daily interactions. A cute stranger could accidentally bump into me on the street, and as we awkwardly laugh it off, I am already planning our first date. No, I am not crazy or delusional- I just don’t believe in accidentally meeting someone. In my mind, every new acquaintance is destined to come into my world; it’s another chance at forming a bond you so desperately need with someone (platonic friendships apply to this, too!)
Unfortunately, having that amount of hope in people leads to endless disappointment, sadness, and rejection. More often than not my feelings aren’t reciprocated, and I end up hibernating in my apartment, blasting Taylor Swift- cause, you know, she gets me. There are worse ways to cope with rejection I suppose, but this behavior became my normal; I began welcoming this damaging cycle, because my self-worth was absent entirely.
Here’s the truth: I have a completely messed up relationship with the idea of love, and I let its possibility control me. But, that’s just how I am. Even though the causes may vary, we all experience rejection, and a lot of us put entirely too much emphasis on it. As a result, we waste the most valuable type of currency life has to offer: time.
All of those minutes, hours and months of self-wallowing could have been invested in, you know, building your life! When I realized how much time and energy I put into meaningless rejections and fleeting relationships, I almost had to laugh… and cry. I could have written a novel with all that time (still may). Though I will never regain those lost moments, I have at least managed to discover a few benefits of rejection:
1. You begin to look deeply inside yourself.
Sounds simple enough, but it’s actually pretty frightening. Many of us seek the company of others because we cannot stand being alone with our own thoughts. We truly do not know ourselves, so we search for acceptance and validation in the opinions of others. Rejection, however, has a way of stirring up all those suppressed demons that cause you to feel inadequate in the first place. We are forced to confront the painful feelings we run from, and it’s scary as hell.
There’s so much greatness in this process, because once the pain subsides, you literally feel liberated, refreshed and renewed. You’ll find that it gets easier to be alone, and you may even begin to prefer it. You begin to to find solace within yourself, because despite your struggles, you always made it out okay. Lastly, you finally befriend yourself, because you’re pretty damn awesome.
2. You quit feeling sorry for yourself.
Self-pity is toxic, as it morphs us into human repellants- most people do not want to hear about our problems constantly. The more rejections and disappointments we experience, the easier it is to play victim. Eventually, you will experience some type of rejection that changes you. Whether this be work related, friendship or romantic, it will crush your spirit entirely. You will finally realize that the only way to recover is to make a plan: these three simple words will save you from a lot of unhappiness.
It sometimes take a tough rejection to completely refocus your direction in life, and to finally prioritize your goals. Taking an action to better yourself is always the best decision, especially when nothing seems to be working in your favor. You’ll be astonished at how quickly life can change for the better.
3. You are no longer afraid of vocalizing what you want.
This primarily applies to potential/new relationship partners. How many times has your almost-relationship left you in a constant state of emotional disarray, but they’ve had no idea? You obsess over why he hasn’t called in three days. You wonder why he won’t be friends with you on social media. But then he’ll send you flowers one day, and you’re all happy again- temporarily. Oops, he disappeared again. More often than not, this dating limbo leads to someone getting hurt (someone being you).
In today’s dating culture, the person who cares the least has leverage in the relationship. So, we stop talking to each other, and we neglect to explain what we are looking for in a relationship. Without communication, a relationship will not balance. It will not grow, nor will it feel natural. Fortunately, a combination of maturity and these failed relationships has taught you to be upfront about what it is you’re looking for. The best way to get what you want is to simply ask for it.
4. You are learning to forgive yourself.
We all look back and wonder what we could’ve done differently to make them stay. What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me? How can I change?
It’s so incredibly easy to take blame for feeling unwanted. It’s your fault after all, right?
You were just being yourself, and look what happened? One day, you’ll see it differently. You’ll be tired- so extremely tired- of blaming yourself for everything. Carrying around that type of self-inflicted burden will become toxic, until you finally just surrender to forgiveness. Realize that although you were rejected, it is not your fault, and you do not deserve to suffer further. You are so much more than that feeling of emptiness. So much more.